Virginia gov. vetoes bill protecting clergy from performing same-sex ‘marriages’
RICHMOND, Virginia, April 1, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed a religious freedom bill Wednesday during a radio appearance, claiming it was “discriminatory” and “demonizes folks.”
Senate Bill 41 aimed to protect pastors from performing same-sex "marriages,” and religious groups and business owners from being forced to provide wedding-related services for them.
“It’s unconstitutional. It is discriminatory. It demonizes folks. It brings fear and persecution. We can’t tolerate that,” he said on Washington’s WTOP station.
According to McAuliffe, the pastor protection component was unnecessary because of the U.S. Constitution. “Any legitimate protections afforded by Senate Bill 41 are duplicative of the First Amendment," he said in a statement.
“Any additional protections are styled in a manner that prefers one religious viewpoint — that marriage can only validly exist between a man and a woman — over all other viewpoints,” he said. “Such a dynamic is not only unconstitutional, it equates to discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.”
According to The Washington Times, the bill's sponsor -- State Sen. Charles Carrico -- said the bill was intended to be a barrier of protection after the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage ruling last year.
Carrico said the veto goes against the beliefs of "millions of Virginians" who hold traditional views on marriage.
While many LGBT advocates say the Supreme Court's decision to change the legal definition of marriage will not risk pastoral liberty, social conservatives say the risk is unquestionably present. During Court arguments last year, the U.S. Solicitor General said there was a risk that groups opposed to a redefinition of marriage could lose their tax-exempt status.
The Virginia Family Foundation’s Victoria Cobb said McAuliffe veto was itself the discriminatory. "Disagreement over the nature and purpose of marriage is not going to disappear simply because the Supreme Court created a mythological right to redefine marriage," she said in a statement.
"It is unfortunate that Governor McAuliffe is so willing to discriminate against people of faith who simply disagree with the secular left's sexual dogma,” she added.